Tag Archives: Wine Review

Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed: 20th September 2013

This tasting was defined by the number of outstanding wines on show.  Interestingly, several of my favourites came from producers that I know little about.  The wines from Salomon, Jericho and Shottesbrooke were all noteworthy.

I will write more on each of these producers over the next few weeks.

This is not to say that some of the established players did not show well.  Yalumba’s Octavius was also in top form.  A dense, powerful wine for the long hall.



jericho-shiraz-2012Jericho – Shiraz – 2012 (18.5).  Initially, this is restrained, taut and closed, with subdued fruit characters.  The quality though is outstanding with wonderful depth and texture.  The length is a defining feature, as is the balance and velvety mouth-feel.  Will build and develop for many years.  A superb wine from McLaren Vale.

Salomon – Shiraz – Finniss River – 2010 (18.5).  This has both a captivating nose and wonderful palate.  This is powerful, yet elegant and restrained at the same time.  The palate is very long and near seamless, with subtle spicy notes.  The fruit is quite closed, but the quality is evident in every aspect of this wine.  An outstanding, sophisticated wine with great balance.

Shottesbrooke – Shiraz – Eliza – Reserve – 2010 (18.5).  Here is another cracking wine from the 2010 vintage.  Has an attractive nose that combines concentrated fruit with supple oak characters.  The palate is initially closed, taut and linear, with bright acid and fine, drying, slightly chewy tannins.  With air, this really opened up to display wonderful fruit that had layers of depth and complexity.  The palate is very complex, expressive and alive.  A beautiful wine that deserves ten years in the cellar.

Yalumba – Shiraz – Octavius – 2008 (18.5).  An impenetrable wine that took two days to really open up and show its class.  A great wine that demands patience.

Salomon – Shiraz – Finniss River – 2011 (18.3). Ripe fruit on the nose that hints at fresh plum and forest floor.  A delicious wine that has a remarkably soft mouth-feel yet has tannins that are fine and persistent.  The fruit builds depth and breadth in the glass and on the palate, evolving and enticing a further sip.  Whilst this is a big, powerful wine, it expresses a softness that is very attractive.  An excellent wine at the start of a long life.

Grant Burge – Shiraz – Filsell – 2011 (17.8).  Inky colour and really deep smelling, this wine has quality stamped all over it.  Presents precise fruit, with a vanillin oak lift.  Masculine and structured, yet with elegance and poise.  Chocolate fruit notes to close.  Long and textured, this needs a few years to show its best, as the tannins are quite firm on the finish.

Jericho – Shiraz – Adelaide Hills – Syrah – 2012 (17.8).  Lovely, peppery fruit to open here.  The spicy fruit is balanced and nicely textured.  The fruit is not overly dense, but has been handled sympathetically.  Long and balanced, this could easily take 5 years in the cellar.  Another producer who is trying to differentiate the Adelaide Hills style by adopting the French term Syrah.

Salomon – Shiraz – Finniss River – 2009 (17.7).  Cooler climate fruit that is precise and focussed.  Shows mint, red berries, bright cherry fruit, white pepper and a touch of aniseed.  Long and sappy finish with silky, slightly dusty tannins that adds life and interest.  Very smart wine that is good now or in 10 years.

Bird in Hand – Shiraz – 2012 (17.5).  Whilst quite a big wine, this has quality, cooler climate fruit characters.  The ripe, aromatic fruit is supported by supple, chewy tannins.  A youthful wine with inherent balance and good length.

Pinot Noir – New Release

Pinot Noir – New Release

Reviewed: 23rd June 2013

A couple of interesting pinots from Dalrymple came in during the week, so I put together a small bracket to see how they came up. Dalrymple is a Tasmanian winery and the fruit for all three wines came from the Coal River region. The quality across the range was very high, with the wines offering an attractive blend of fruit and spice.

For me, the standard wine represents the best value ($35). There is a noticeable increase in sophistication with the Cottage Block ($45) and the Block CV90 ($55), but this comes at the expense of approachability today. Try all three and see for yourself.


Dalrymple – Pinot Noir – Cottage Block – 2011 (18+). Pretty, floral fruit on the nose. The palate is floral, but there is real persistence to the fruit and a surprising degree of depth. This is a very smart wine, with the cherry and spice characters from the fruit lingering for a very long time. Tannins and oak are very fine and complement the fruit well. A very finely crafted wine.

Dalrymple – Pinot Noir – Block CV90 – 2011 (18/18.5). A touch closed and reductive to start, but this wine has quality fruit and it has been deftly handled. The finish is slightly chewy at first, but with air, it builds depth and the fruit becomes more vibrant in the glass. The fine tannins suppress the finish slightly, so give this some air or a few years in the bottle.

Squitchy Lane – Pinot Noir – 2010 (18). The nose on this is very classy, showing a lovely blend of ripe fruits and more savoury characters. The palate is quite firm, with souring acid that sets this up well for food. Long and supple, this is the most food-friendly pinot here. The next day, this wine really hit its straps, showing depth and possessing a generosity of fruit that made it a joy to drink with a hearty seafood stew.

Dalrymple – Pinot Noir – 2011 (17.8). Pristine and focused fruit on the nose. The palate is supple, though quite linear at present. There is good depth to the fruit and the finish is very silky. The winemakers have worked very well with the fruit weight, as the oak is of high quality and sits behind the fruit. A very good Australian pinot that drinks well now.


Ostler – Current Release

Reviewed: 25th April 2013

I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Jim Jerram from Ostler recently to try their current range of wines as well as several older Caroline’s pinot noirs.

Located in the cooler Northern Otago sub-district of Waitaki Valley,  the pinot vineyard was first planted in 2002. The relatively thin top soil, with limestone substrate was the key attraction to the producers when they purchased the land for the vineyard.

The pick of the wines was the 2010 Caroline’s pinot. A superb wine that is worthy of time in the cellar. The bargain though, and the one that I will recommend the strongest is the Blue House Vines pinot from 2011. Not overly complicated, but bright and delicious.


Ostler – Riesling – 2011 (17 – 17.5). Floral fruit on the nose, with subtle spice. The palate is textured and there is a degree of phenolic richness. Whilst there is noticeable sweetness, the excellent length and acid on the finish sets this apart, leaving the palate relatively dry to close. An interesting alternative to Australian rieslings. This has 10.6 g/l of residual sugar and is the 1st vintage from this vineyard (planted in 2008)

Ostler – Pinot Gris – Audrey’s – 2011 (17). Lovely floral notes here. This is an amalgam of Turkish delight, spice and phenolic texture. Quite a chewy finish adds interest, but the finish is a touch closed at first. The mid-palate is viscous and textured and this opens and develops richness in the glass. There is good acidity to close. A portion of this wine ferments in old oak.

Ostler – Pinot Noir – Blue House Vines – 2011 (17). Lighter hue than the other pinots tasted here. Soft, fresh and vibrant, this has attractive, albeit uncomplicated fruit aromas. The fresh cherry fruit is the key feature on the palate, though there is enough structure and souring acidity to make this quite delicious. This is an early drinking style that will work really well with food now.

Ostler – Pinot Noir – Caroline’s – 2010 (18+). More density to the fruit compared to the Blue House Vines. The nose is closed, but hints at potential. The palate is dense, structured, powerful, and chewy. The tannins and oak are present, but add texture and complexity rather than overt flavours. With air, this opens to show sweet red fruits and the structure really builds. Whilst this is a wine that needs time to show its best, the balance is spot on. The wine has new world fruit, but is not as fleshy as many Central Otago wines.

Ostler – Pinot Noir – Caroline’s – 2008 (17.5). Typical of the style, but from a cooler year. Perfumed, spiced, floral, red fruits on display. In the mouth, this is silky and supple, developing texture and body on the mid-palate. Lovely texture and mouth-feel, this is very good drinking now, but also has the potential to develop more texture and complexity. Fined and filtered which is not normal for the producer.

Ostler – Pinot Noir – Caroline’s – 2006 (17.5). Very seductive nose! Silky and supple, with masses of red fruit on the palate. Textured and soft, the dusty tannins add to the long, fine, spicy finish. Excellent persistence. Very impressive given the age of the vines.

Burgundy 2008

Boot-Full of Wine

Tasting notes from Italy (and beyond)

March 2011

One of the most important events on the calendar of the Institute of Masters of Wine is the Annual Burgundy tasting. This year, the 2008 vintage was featured, and the tasting was organised in association with Les Domaines Familiaux de Tradition. I was lucky enough to be able to attend.

2008 was a difficult year in Burgundy, and has been christened “the miracle vintage”. The miracle to which they refer is the burst of sunshine the region experienced, accompanied by fresh (and, importantly, drying) northerly winds from the second week of September to the beginning of October.

The cool and humid start to spring was a harbinger of things to come. The whole growing season was wet and cool, with the crop beset by coulure climatique (physiological failure of fruit set) and millerandage (variation in berry size). 2007 was also a cool and wet vintage, but by the end of June, the 2008 vintage was further than three weeks behind where the 2007 grapes were at the same time.

Rot and mildew were a constant threat (those growing organically or biodynamically were particularly challenged), and called for attentive vineyard management. The period of sunshine helped greatly to keep these maladies at bay in the weeks before harvest, but though the sun shone, it was cool, especially at night. Thus the wind concentrated the sugar in the grapes, but full physiological ripeness was difficult to achieve.

The other key to producing good wines in this vintage (other than obsessional vineyard practices) was strict and often laborious sorting. I have heard that some producers rejected up to 40% of their fruit, giving yields as low as 16hl/ha.

As a result, I went to the tasting expecting that acidity levels would be very high (they were – in fact malolactic fermentation took ages to be completed), and that some wines (both red and white) would be a bit lean (indeed some were).

My overall impression was that whites fared better than reds, and that the Cotes de Nuits shaded the Cotes de Beaune (though I enjoyed several of the wines from Corton). I will confess that I am, as Michael Schuster puts it, one who likes my white Burgundy “taut, refreshing, aromatically complex and minerally”. There were no fat white Burgundies here!

But this vintage (though some would argue, every vintage) was more about the producer than the provenance of the wine. Those producers who were fastidious in both the vineyard practices and in their sorting were able to do great things. Below I will highlight a few producers whose wines I thoroughly enjoyed.


Chassagne-Montrachet – Les Chenevottes – 1er Cru (White). Lean and tight, rhubarb and citrus on the nose, good length and depth of palate. 17.5 pts

Beaune – Clos des Féves – 1er Cru (red). Wonderfully complex and balanced, amalgam of fruit and secondary flavours, silky tannins. 18.5 pts

Savigny-lés-Beaune – La Dominode – 1er Cru (red). Bright red translucence, very expressive nose, fruit and savoury elements, elegant and balanced. 18.5 pts


Chambolle Musigny (red). Sulphurous initially, which blew off. A thoroughly well made wine – each element of fruit, tannin and acid playing a part, but not individually intrusive. 17 pts

Morey-Saint-Denis – Clos de la Bussiére – 1er Cru (red). Lifted nose of sweet strawberries and cherries. A leanness to the palate but fruit flavours not unripe. 17 pts

Bonnes-Mares – Grand Cru – (red). When one tastes wines like this one realizes why people just go crazy about red Burgundy. This was a near perfect expression of pinot noir – cherry fruit, silky tannins, austere but with a rustic edge. Controlled power. 18.5 pts


Corton-Charlemagne – Grand Cru (white). Full, rich and powerful, with layers of complexity – palate variegated but integrated. Effects of battonage, MLF and oak evident, good acidity, and very persistent length. 18 pts

Corton – Grand Cru (red). Intense fruit concentration, with ripe tannins. Far too young – has a great future ahead. 18 pts


Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet – Grand Cru (white). A bigger yet balanced expression, stylish, subtle and long palate. High quality oak. 17.5 pts

Gevrey-Chambertin – Les Cazetiers – 1er cru (red). Serious nose gives way to a serious palate – with fruit and savoury flavours, silky mouthfeel, good balance. 17.5 pts

Mazis-Chambertin – Grand Cru (red). After the initial sulphur has blown off, this is the proverbial peacock’s tail. Aromas keep building in the glass, flavours likewise on the palate. 18.5 pts


Chablis – Grand Cru – les Clos. Citrus minerality, austere and lean. Acid levels high. Evidence of oak and malo (not atypical for Grand Cru Chablis) 17.75

Beaune – Clos des Mouches Blanc – 1er Cru (white). Depth to olour and flavour. Wet stone and lychee notes. Elegant mouthfeel. 17.5 pts

Grands Echézeaux – Grand Cru (red). Depth to aroma and palate, cherry and even soy. Again, far too young, (and in this case, a bit cold also – new bottle recently emerged from the cellar and opened ~12 deg C. Showed better when warmed.) 18 pts


Vosne-Romanée – Aux Malconsorts – 1er Cru (red). Hints of coffee on the nose (probably from oak). No lack of phenolic ripeness here – the particular mingling of fruit and tannins and acid suggest long aging potential. 18.5 pts


Latriciéres-Chambertin – Grand Cru (red). Layers of complexity, luscious and classically expressive. 18.5 pts

Ciao for now!

Brendan Jansen

** Chanson is not part of Les Domaines Familiaux de Tradition but is an Institute sponsor

Red Burgundy Master Class

14 April 2010

The last few months have seen our Italian correspondent, Brendan Jansen, back in Perth. To assist with his Master of Wine studies, Brendan has been running a series of tastings aimed at exploring the differences that are experienced across various regions. These have included White Burgundy/Chablis and The Rhone Valley. The last tasting in this series was the Red Wines of Burgundy.

Brendan arranged a cross section of wines from various villages throughout the Cote d’Or. The challenge was to try and identify what characters were synonymous with pinot noir from Burgundy and what characters were unique to specific villages within Burgundy.

An interesting observation was that most of the wines were recommended by Ross Duke. We came to the conclusion that if Ross recommends a Burgundy, then it is most likely to be good. The only caveat would be to choose the better vintages.

Tasted (In Order)

Domaine Du Meix-Foulot – Mercury 1er Cru – Clos du Chateau de Montaigu – 2006 (16.9). Somewhat meaty characters to start, in a solid frame-work. Some lovely cherry fruit leads on the palate, with earthy characters to follow. Not complex on the finish, but very more-ish and good drinking now.

Domaine Marquis D’Angerville – Volnay – 2005 (16.7). Denser colour, and more density to the fruit on the nose. Savoury notes with spice and red (strawberry) fruits on the palate. Souring finish adds interest. Again lacks fruit weight on the finish, but there is enough structure to improve for a few years. Quite linear but not as generous as the Mercury.

Domaine Machard De Gramont – Beune 1er Cru – Aucoucherias – 2005 (17). Cold. Lighter style and quite pretty. The palate builds intensity. Some pepper and spice on the palate. A pretty, even floral, wine that gets better with time. This really improved over the evening.

Albert Morot – Beaune – Cent Vignes 1er Cru – 2004 (17.2). More of the earthy/meaty characters on the nose, but really interesting and succulent. Fruit is more to the plum spectrum with spice. Complex, spice especially cinnamon. Plums and some cedary notes on the palate. Long and savoury finish, but with plenty of grip. Sweet plum fruit. This was delicious with dinner the next night.

Domaine Follin-Arbelet – Aloxe Corton 1er Cru – les Vercots – 2006 (17.4). Quite dumb to start. The palate is fresh and vibrant, silky yet with plenty of structure. The fruit and oak tannins are very fine and tight, but get powdery on the close. This needs quite a few years to open up.

Rapet Pere et Fils – Pernand Verglesses – 2005 (16.5). Fruit tending to the cherry spectrum, with a touch of menthol and medicinal aromas. These continue on the palate. Opens with time, but not my style. (Received stronger support from others.)

Domaine Digioia-Royer – Chambolle Musigny – 2005. (17.5). Earthy, complex nose with dark fruit. The palate is dense, and quite powerful, with good fruit weight. This wine is all about fruit, with minimal new oak influence. Chewy and long, an impressive village wine. Pretty and quite feminine. A mid weight wine.

Earl Domaine Castagnie – Gervrey Chambertin – 2004 (17.3). More developed than the Royer, perhaps reflecting the vintage. Plumy fruit with some cedary oak characters. There is some cooler fruit character on the nose, but this does not detract. Good line and very good length. Does evolve and build spice. Drink in the next few years. (If this has a touch of Volatile Acidity, then it adds complexity).

Domaine Bart – Marsannay – Les Echezois – 2005 (17.8). Balanced and complex nose. This is seductive and ripe. Silky and enticing palate with fruit in the cherry spectrum . Denser fruit than all so far, this is textured and rich. Surprising quality for a village wine, and will improve further.

Bruno Desaunay-Bissey – Vosne Romanee – Villes Vignes 2005. (16). A somewhat meaty wine that is plump and ripe, but perhaps a bit flat. An almost sea-water flavour on the finish. Opens and improves. Firm tannins.

J Cacheux – Vosne Romanee 1er Cru – Les Chalandins – 2006 (18.2). A pretty wine. Feminine and floral, but with spine. Wow, lovely wine with very floral fruit. There is rose water and gentle cinnamon as well as strawberry fruit characters. Very silky, but still with structure. Superior. Interesting to see a fresh sea-water character.

J Cacheux – Vosne Romanee 1er Cru – Les Chalandins – 2005 (18). More structured than the 2006. Similar fruit characters, (i.e. pretty fruit), but more structured and a touch of pepper. The tannins are palpable on the finish. Smart, but will need more time to start drinking well. More masculine, and will score higher in time.

Caves de Pommard – Clos Vougeot – Grand Cru – 2005 (17.5). More weighty, but with poise and balance. Warmer and with some oak influence that is obvious. Dense fruit that is really long and fine. This is a powerful wine but not as identifiably burgundian. Some unusual, almost cooked characters. I was the only one that did not rate this very highly.

Scorpo – Pinot Noir – 2005 (17.9). Has the same spectrum of characters as the burgundies, but everything is turbo charged. Meaty/earthy characters dominate the nose. The palate is a flood of ripe fruit in the cherry spectrum. This is really long and really dense. The ripeness and density of the fruit is reflected in the (slightly) higher alcohol. One for lovers of shiraz, but very good all the same. Tangy acid to close. Interestingly, this evolved into a more feminine wine with airing.

Carrick – Pinot Noir – 2006 (18). Much closer in style to the burgundies, but still with new world fruit characters. Very nice wine with cherries and gentle spice. This is delicate but long and fine. Good length.

New Release Tasting

Fine Wine Wholesalers

Reviewed 14 October 2011

Matt Holden, the State Manager for Fine Wine Wholesalers popped in to show off some of his new releases. The highlight of which was the fantastic rieslings from Geoff Grosset.

The value wine of the tasting was the Echelon from Kingston Estate. A flagship wine at a bargain price.

Speaking of value, Lamont’s have some Italian wines at great prices. JJ is bringing them in directly and the wines reviewed below are available for $30 per bottle. To get a Barolo for this price is unheard off. To make the deal sweeter, ask for 13 to the dozen!


Grosset – Riesling – Springvale – 2011 (18.5). Lovely nose. This is floral and fragrant, with hints of lemon blossom. Steely characters dominate the palate, but this opens up to show fragrant talc and very fine acid/structure. The lemony fruit goes on and on. A superb wine that just got better and better in the glass. This is all class, but I would like to give it a few years. We drank this with a roast chicken for dinner and it was beautiful.

Grosset – Riesling – Polish Hill – 2011 (18 – 18.5+). Wow. Pristine nose showing fresh lime juice. This has a degree of viscosity and almost a touch of phenolics, but the lovely lime fruit drives the palate forward. Much more approachable than some previous vintages and an excellent drink. This does, however, have superb structure and it will live for a long time.

Grosset – Riesling – Off Dry – 2011 (18). Lovely wine. Floral fruit and vibrant acidity. Really delicious in the mouth – a super wine. A touch oily to close, the length of fruit on the palate is a standout. The slight residual sugar is balanced by well judged acidity. Softer and more approachable than the previous two and my pick for current drinking.

Bird in Hand – Sauvignon Blanc – 2011. (16.8). Gooseberry, lantana and tropical fruit more typical of NZ than of the Adelaide Hills. Clean and fresh with more of the tropical notes on the palate. Smart wine with good persistence. Not overly complex.

Chapel Hill – Blend – Il Vescovo – 2011 (17). More reserved, but more interesting. Nutty, oily, textured and viscous. Savoury wine of some appeal that would suit food well.

Olssens – Pinot Noir – Nipple Hill – 2010 (17.4). More depth and structure here. Smart wine, with cherry and strawberry fruit, with savoury/sappy complexity underneath. Almost chewy, the finish is very good. Not a delicate wine, but one of much appeal. Well made, but straightforward.

Dominique Portet – Shiraz – Heathcote – 2008 (17.3). Dense fruit here. There is ripe plum notes, but no overripe/dead fruit characters. Pepper and spice over silky, supple fruit. Only medium bodied, but long and savoury finish.

Kingston Estate – Shiraz – Echelon – 2008 (18). A touch of menthol and cedar on the nose. The palate has pepper and spice to the max. Long and lean, the tannin structure is spot on. The oak is noticeable, but this will settle down. Fantastic fruit and great value.

Mario Marengo – Nebbiolo D’Alba – Valmaggiore – 2009 (17-5 – 18). They say these wines smell of tar and roses, and this has both. A lovely nose here. The palate is lovely. There are some ripe fruit characters, but the tar and floral notes come through in spades. This is long and savoury, though there is a degree of suppleness that is beguiling. Long and fine, this is a lovely wine.

Tenuta Di Capraia – Chianti Classico DOCG – Reserva 2007 (17.5). More depth to the nose. Hints of aniseed/licorice. The palate is finely structured and beautifully balanced. Excellent mouth feel and structure. Not a big wine, but all the better for it. A touch of savoury, medicinal flavours that add interest. Lively, fresh and well made. Good persistence.

Il Poggione – Brunello Di Montalcino – 2005 (17.9). Very savoury palate. Traditional style that is savoury, mouth-watering and leathery. This is all about texture and mouth-feel, with little in the way of primary fruit. Slightly chewy tannins to close. Long palate that demands aging or food. Long and dense, with deftly handled fruit.

Lamont’s Direct Imports

These wines are spectacular value. Both are available for $30 from Lamont’s. Mention this review and you may even get 13 to the dozen!

Salvapiana – Chianti Ruffino – 2008 (17 – 17.5). Limpid. Mot much on the nose, but the palate is a lovely blend of traditional characters and fresher fruit components. Savoury, medium bodied and medium weight.

Apartin – Barolo – 2006 (17.5 – 18). Lovely savoury aromas, but still with aniseed. Much more subdued and better balanced. Excellent structure and length. An excellent wine that is modern. I would like to see this again in a couple of months once it has settled down.

Burgundy Masterclass – Hosted by Philip Rich

Reviewed 28 August 2011


Dr Brendan Jansen

Philip Rich is a specialist wine importer and highly knowledgeable wine columnist with the Australian Financial Review. So when news of this tasting masterclass reached me, I was keen to attend.

Philip is indeed a European, and Burgundian in particular, wine aficionado. In the tasting he presented three brackets of Burgundy (2 of white, and 1 of red, all from the 2009 vintage) and a bracket of Barolos from the 2007 vintage in Piedmont, Italy (an appropriate accompaniment to Burgundy, as he described Piedmont as the Burgundy of Italy).

Here is a list of the wines:

Bracket 1 (White)

  • Jean-Marc Pillot – Chassagne Montrachet – 2009
  • Jean-Marc Pillot – Chassagne Montrachet – Baudines – 2009
  • Jean-Marc Pillot – Chassagne Montrachet – Vergers – 2009
  • Jean-Marc Pillot – Chassagne Montrachet – Morgeots – 2009

Bracket 2 (White)

  • Henri Boillot – Bourgogne Blanc – 2009
  • Henri Boillot – Meursault – 2009
  • Henri Boillot – Meursault – Charmes – 2009
  • Henri Boillot – Corton Charlemagne – 2009

Bracket 3 (Red)

  • Hudelot Noellat – Bourgogne – Rouge – 2009
  • Hudelot Noellat – Chambolle Musigny – 2009
  • Hudelot Noellat – Nuits St Georges – Murgers – 2009
  • Hudelot Noellat – Clos de Vougeot – 2009

Bracket 4 (Barolo)

  • Mauro Veglio – Barolo – DOCG – 2007
  • Mauro Veglio – Barolo – Arborina – DOCG – 2007
  • Mauro Veglio – Barolo – Castelletto – DOCG – 2007
  • Mauro Veglio – Barolo – Rocche dell’ Annunziata – DOCG – 2007

Without going into detailed tasting notes of each wine, I will leave you with my general impressions of the tasting, and highlight a couple of the wines which were particularly impressive, for quality and/or value for money.

Firstly, the rise in quality as we moved from Village to Premier Cru to Grand Cru was quite apparent, manifest especially by both greater palate persistence and intensity.

Secondly, the whites in particular were all in a linear, more angular style. I for one prefer my white Burgundy in this style – no excessive oaking or buttery malolactic and leesy characters. In fact the 2 Meursault wines, though with more sinew and body than the Chassagne Montrachets, were nowhere near the plump examples I have tasted before, and I may have found it difficult to pick them as Meursaults in a blind line-up. Though partly a feature of the 2009 vintage, I suspect Philip has sourced wines with a more slender and elegant expression of white Burgundy – for which I am personally grateful!

My favourite of the first bracket was the Baudines (18 pts), which had a lovely texture and mouthfeel to accompany its superb acid. In the second bracket, the Corton Charlemegne (18.5 pts), though still young and closed, spoke of richness and balance on the palate, guaranteeing it a long life ahead.

Of the Red Burgundies, the Hudelot Chambolle Musigny (17.25 pts) displayed more funky, feral and undergrowth characters than the other wines – which I usually enjoy, but in this case possibly indicated some premature aging – it just tasted older than it should. The Nuits St Georges Murgers (18.25 pts) was cleaner and “purer’ with tight tannic structure and backbone. The Clos Vougeot was very young, and its scents had to be coaxed from within the glass. Nonetheless the palate already shows amazing depth, length, and complexity (including cherry fruit, liquorice and clove) (18.75 pts)

The Barolos, bar the first bottle (which I thought had too much volatility to represent a non-faulty bottle), were exemplars of the tar and roses/violets and ripe tannins of the appellation. The fourth (Roche dell’Annunziata – 18.5 pts) was my favourite, and even had some Barbaresco-esque spicy complexity.

To end, a special mention of the Vilmart Champagne, described by Tom Stevenson MW as being the ‘greatest grower Champagne I know’, which was served at he beginning of the tasting. This was a superb, perfumed, elegant and complete NV Champagne, and set the tone for a great tasting! (18.5 pts)

Ciao for now!

Brendan Jansen

Editors Note

Xavier Bizot’s Selection

3 August 2011

Xavier Bizot has an illustrious pedigree when it comes to wine. His family owns Bollinger, and his father-in-law is Brian Croser of Petaluma fame.

Xavier was at Lamont’s in Cottesloe to showcase a cross-section of the wines that he distributes in Australia. The range consists of imported wines and the wines made by Brian Croser under the Tapanappa label. This is an idiosyncratic range, but there is an obvious focus on producing stylish, refined wines from carefully selected sites.

Please note that the majority (I think all) of the wines were sealed with a cork. Also, this was not a blind tasting, so my points are only preliminary.

A special thanks to John Jens and the team at Lamont’s. Not only was the function superbly run, it delivered extraordinary value!


Domaine Marcel Deiss – Pinot Blanc – 2009 (17.5). Dry and austere on the nose, though there are obvious varietal and regional characters. Think slate and a touch of mineral. There are floral hints on the palate, but this is all about texture. Rich, round, viscous and even a touch oily. The length is a standout, aided by a touch of residual sugar to flesh out the palate. Sat well alongside some scallops.

Domaine Marcel Deiss – Premier Cru – Burg – Single Vineyard – 2003 (17-18). Aromatic, even Sauternes like aromas. Powerful fruit notes with lychees, tropical fruits and a touch of rose. The palate is very textured and viscous, without the oiliness of the pinot blanc. This is a high impact, turbocharged wine of some charm. The botrytis component turns the dial up to 11! A wine to taste on its own perhaps. The wines from Deiss focus on the vineyard perhaps more than the grapevine. They are using numerous clones of the various grapes, but also blending different varieties (13 in this case) when producing their single vineyard wines.

Tapanappa – Chardonnay – Tiers Vineyard – 2008 (18+). Tight, austere and elegant. There is creamy fruit on the nose, with lees and very fine oak highlights. Excellent palate that is expansive yet full of nervous energy. This is modern and very tight. The palate has some pineapple, melon and lemon fruit characters. Fine and elegant, with a tangy finish courtesy of the lemony acid.

Tapanappa – Chardonnay – Tiers Vineyard – 2007 (17-18). Quite a different style to the 2008. The fruit was initially very subdued, with the medium toast oak providing the dominant flavours and aromas. This really opened up in the glass displaying powerful fruit that soaked up the oak. Very powerful and complex. Most people preferred this wine, though I would rather drink the 2008.

Chateau Pierre Bise – Cabernet Franc/Merlot – Anjou Villages – Sur Schistes – 2009 (17). Floral fruit, though the structural components are never far away. Savoury, sappy, long and juicy, this is an interesting wine that has seen no oak. From the Loire.

Ceretto – Barolo DOCG – Zonchera – 2007 (18+). This is a lovely wine. Cherry and savoury notes that are fine and balanced. The palate has plenty of tar, leather and spice. The mouth-feel is tight and restrained due to the (very fine and supple) tannins. The finish is somewhat grippy right now, but the balance is spot on. The length of the finish is a feature. Give it 5 – 10 years to open up a little.

Tapanappa – Merlot – Whalebone Vineyard – 2003 (17 – 17.5). Perfumed nose redolent of violets. The palate has cedar, plum and floral notes. The tannins are still remarkably firm, though they are supple enough to make this a good drink. Needs years more to show its best.

Tapanappa – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz – Whalebone Vineyard – 2006 (17 – 18). I struggled to understand this wine at first as it was very closed and tight. The sweet, ripe fruit really builds and the textured finish is fine and savoury, with a souring finish. Points awarded for potential.

Tapanappa – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz – Whalebone Vineyard – 2004 (18+). This wine had to compete with the aromas of a superb Wagyu steak. The fruit shows chocolate, leather and spice, with tight knit oak in support. This has lovely mouth-feel and excellent length. It is supple, textured and quite delicious. A quality wine!

Francois Lumpp – Givry AOC – Pied de Clou – 2009 (17). Quite shy, with delicate fruit. This has been well made. Sympathetic winemaking allows the fruit to shine, as the oak is only secondary and the tannins are nicely polished. Good short term drinking.

Domaine du Clos de Tart – Pinot Noir – 2008 (NR). How do you point a wine that is so unique. From a single monopole vineyard, Clos du Tart is the name of the winery, the vineyard AND the appellation. Created in the 12th century, the vineyard has only had three owners in its history. Destined to live for many years, this is hard to appraise now as the wine is very closed… Herbal, savoury and a touch stalky, this is tight, focused and very long. Spicy notes (clove and cinnamon) dominate the palate. The tannins impart a talcum powder like effect on the finish.

Chateau Pierre Bise – Chenin Blanc – Coteaux du Layon – Rouannieres – 2009 (17.7+). Fresh and vibrant nose with floral soap/talc aromas. The palate is intensely sweet and concentrated. The palate is viscous, rich and oily, with ground almond and cashew nut textural components. There is 220grams/litre of residual sugar, though the refreshing acidity prevents this from getting too cloying in the mouth. Delicious.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Reviewed: 25 July 2011

A strong line up of chardonnay and pinot noir has resulted in a number of worthwhile wines. The highlight for me was the Yerring Station pinot, a wine that is full of poise. At $38 it is not cheap, but it is worth a try. (Dan Murphy have it online for $32).

The wines from Robert Oatley are also worth commenting on. Both displayed generosity to the quality fruit and skilled winemaking. These are wines that can be consumed in the short term with pleasure. At around $25, they represent value.


Fraser Gallop – Chardonnay – Wilyabrup – 2010 (18). Forward, floral fruit with a hint of citrus and melon. This is a tighter style compared to the Oatley. It is long and refined, with a drying finish. Quality fruit and oak, with serious length. Avoid drinking now as this needs 3 – 5 years to show its best.

Robert Oatley – Chardonnay – Craigmoor AC1 Vineyard – 2009 (17.8). Lovely lemony fruit with subtle barrel ferment and lees effects. Creamy and seductive, the palate matches the nose, with flint and minerals to the fore on the (very long) finish. The charry oak is a touch dominant, but should settle.

Windows Estate – Chardonnay – Single Vineyard – 2010 (17.5). Very creamy, with well integrated winemaking inputs. Opens with peach and pineapple fruit, with a touch of mineral and curry leaf to add interest. The quality fruit has real length of flavour. Needs time to show its best. (Another really smart wine from this producer).

Devils Lair – Chardonnay – Fifth Leg – Crisp – 2010 (16.8). Floral nose with tropical fruits. Zesty and racy palate that hints at its chardonnay origins, but in a fresh and vibrant package. An excellent alternative to sauvignon blanc.

Yering Station – Pinot Noir – Yarra Valley – 2010 (18). More angular and precise nose. Beautifully weighted fruit that is more to do with sappy/savoury notes than bright fruit. The palate has excellent structure and mouth-feel, while the tannins are fine. Needs a few years to hit its straps, as this blossomed after sitting on the tasting bench for a couple of days. A very smart wine.

Robert Oatley – Pinot Noir – Mornington Peninsula – 2010 (17.6). Succulent, sweet and juicy fruit. This is at the ripe end of cherry, hinting at plum. There is also some tar, combined with earthy notes. The palate has more of the same in a soft and approachable style. Silky tannins and a touch of oak make for good early drinking. Good buying if you see it around $25.

Chard Farm – Pinot Noir – River Run – 2008 (17.5). Cherry fruit that is tight and focused. A complex wine. The fruit on the palate has excellent depth and balance. There is a slight astringency running through the palate and the tannins are fine and the oak supple. This is a powerful wine that has yet to reveal itself fully. Interestingly, this was preferred to its more expensive siblings in this tasting.

New Release

Fine Wine Wholesaler

Reviewed: 8 March 2011

Matt Holden, the State Manager for Fine Wine Wholesalers put on a tasting to show the panel some of his current portfolio. With the likes of Mosswood, Grosset and Pierro in the portfolio, the wines were sure to be interesting.

Abigail from Zarephath Wines also popped in to show off their current range. I was interested to note that all of their wines have a few years in the bottle, which means that some of the ageing has been done for you. I thought the chardonnay and pinot noteworthy and have included them in the review below, although they were not technically part of the tasting.

A highlight of the tasting was a bracket of 2010 rieslings from Grosset, Mt Horrock and Xabregas. I did not review these here as I have previously recommended these wines. The same also applies to the 2008 Mosswood Cabernet. (They all pointed 18 – 18.7 previously).


Grosset – Chardonnay – Piccadilly – 2009 (18+). This is a powerful wine with complex wine-making inputs. Restrained and taught, this has a fabulous mouth-feel. The creamy oak is seamlessly integrated, though the fruit is held back right now. There is a hint of the oak toast on the finish along with match strike and a touch of curry leaf. A very good wine with real length of fruit flavour, great acid balance and quality oak.

Pierro – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Reserve – 2005 (18). Very closed and unyielding. The palate is powerful and very long. There is blackcurrant fruit with plum, hints of eucalypt, cedar and tobacco leaf to close. The length is outstanding as is the texture. Needs years to evolve but a superb wine.

Grosset – Pinot Noir – 2008 (17 – 18). The fruit is quite lifted on the nose, very pretty and quite floral. The palate has excellent length, but the wine is very closed. Becomes more expressive with air, showing powerful cherry fruit that is textured and mouth-filling. (I really need to see this again after being opened for a day or two to see how it evolves).

Chapel Hill – Shiraz – Vicar – 2008 (17.8). Now this is big! Lovely hue. The nose has masses of cherry, plum, spice, tar and licorice. This is layered and very dense. Very textured palate that is very long and really builds intensity. Very silky tannins coat the tongue. Not my style but an impressive wine all the same.

Lenton Brae – Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc – Wilyabrup – 2010 (17.8). Quite complex, yet retains a fragrant edge. Tropical fruit to the fore, with gooseburry and grapefruit. Vanilla highlights come from the oak. Tight and refreshing palate that is very clean. Almost seamless transition in the mouth and the quality oak influence adds complexity. Give it a few years. This is a serious wine and one of the best SSB wines I can remember from Western Australia.

Zarephath – Chardonnay – 2007 (17.7). A rich, round and generous wine showing the benefit of a few years in bottle. There is plenty of peachy fruit and the finish is very creamy courtesy of the oak treatment. Excellent length on a wine that is ready to drink now. (Not tasted blind).

Mosswood – Chardonnay – 2009 (17.5+). Peach and nectarine fruit, with minerals and a touch of flint. Pineapple fruit on the palate with quality oak that is a touch forward now. This will settle and integrate with a few years bottle aging. Quality fruit and wine-making, but this is a style that needs aging to show its best.

Zarephath – Pinot Noir – 2008 (17.5). The nose has cherry fruit to the fore, with strawberry, tar and licorice to add interest. The palate is quite soft and round, with fine structure and good acidity to close. (Not tasted blind).

Mosswood – Pinot Noir – 2008 (17.4) Fragrant cherry and spice aromas. There is a degree of complexity, and depth to the fruit. The palate is taught and restrained, but there is a degree of power underneath. The length is excellent, but this needs 5 years to open up and start to show its best. History suggests that this will blossom with a decade in the bottle.

Penley Estate – Shiraz – Hyland – 2009 (17.2). Fragrant, with pepper and spice to the fore and a density of fruit that is very appealing. Concentrated fruit on the palate, with lots of pepper and savory, spicy notes. Good concentration and length. Smart wine with herbal notes to close. Value.